Luke 15:4-7, "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."
Maybe you remember the 1987 Donna Rice scandal. In 1988 George H.W. Bush was elected President of the United States, but in 1987 the frontrunner for the Democrats was a senator from Colorado named Gary Hart. After rumors surfaced about extramarital affairs, Hart famously dared reporters to follow him, so they did. Two reporters from The Miami Herald saw a young woman leaving Hart's Washington, D.C. townhouse on the evening of May 2nd. The woman was 29-year-old Donna Rice. A few days later the media revealed that Hart had spent a night in a yacht called the Monkey Business with Ms. Rice. Pictures of Rice sitting on Hart's lap made front-page news around the nation.
Senator Hart's presidential bid imploded, but whatever happened to Donna Rice? In 2013 she explained how she had wandered from and returned to her faith in Christ:
"Toward the end of my college career, I started making these little left hand turns. Before long I was dating some non-Christian guys and thought, "That's not a big deal." It's hard to believe how you can go from here to there—you don't go there overnight, you go there by little wrong choices. I saw Hart only twice, but … God was trying to get my attention prior to that, and it took an international sex scandal because I was stubborn. God will track you down. He will let things happen, the natural consequences of our choices."
Rice began her journey back to the Lord, living under the media's radar for seven years, caring for a disabled woman, getting married, and then becoming president of Enough Is Enough. Now the media seeks out Donna Rice Hughes not for her sexual scandals but for her expertise in promoting internet safety and sexual wholeness. Donna said, "Oddly, I was Miss Scandal Queen 1987 and now I'm seen as this voice of decency and morality. That's a God thing." [Marvin Olasky, "Coming Home," World (2-9-13)]
God is a seeker of the lost. He will go to great lengths to hunt you down, sling you to his shoulders and bring you home. He can use your mistake, your misstep, your mess up to bring something positive and good—something completely unexpected. God can change everything. We only need to go back home and start again.
Prayer: Father God, you are the God of the second (and third and fourth) chanceS. We thank you that you can change life all around. That you find us when we've wondered off and bring us back home amazes us. You change everything. What an incredible hope we have in you. Keep us on the path today and turn our failures into good. In Jesus name, amen.